Hyderabad: The COVID-19 pandemic and the nationwide lockdown has dealt a blow to the economy and taken a toll on the state’s revenue. On 27 May, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao announced that the state will deduct the salaries of government employees by 50 per cent in May.

During a review meeting at Pragathi Bhavan here on Wednesday, KCR said the salary deductions announced earlier will continue this month too in view of the state’s reduced revenue. Therefore, the salaries of public representatives will see a 75 per cent cut, while the salaries of All India Service officers will see a 60 per cent deduction. A 25 per cent deduction in pensions will continue in May while outsourcing and contract workers will take a 10 per cent cut in their salaries.

“If the state pays the salaries and pensions, the expenditure would be more than Rs. 3,000 crore. The entire treasury will be empty. Therefore, no payment can be made nor can any work be undertaken right now,” KCR said.

The Chief Minister said that Telangana generated around Rs. 12,000 crore revenue every month. “However, the income fell flat due to the lockdown. In May, the state received Rs. 3,100 crore, including the state’s share in the Central taxes which was Rs. 982 crore. Though the state government has announced some relaxations in the lockdown guidelines, the income has not increased substantially,” he said, adding income from transport, registration, and other departments were not considerable.

“We have to meet all our needs with this meager income.  The state government has to pay the debt to the tune of Rs. 37,400 crore per year. These installments have to be paid every month without fail. The state has requested the Centre to reschedule the loans but it has not taken any action in this regard. The state, hence, has no option but to pay these installments,” KCR said. The Centre has increased the FRBM limits but additional loans could not be raised, he further added.

The government has decided to pay the loan installments and Asara pensions. It will also provide 12 kg of rice to the poor in May but will not pay Rs. 1,500 cash to labourers and workers since the lockdown rules have been relaxed.

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